Derek Grant‘s hard snapshot between a Hershey defender’s legs and in past David Leggio for a 5-4 overtime victory was all it would take for the Binghamton Senators in ending the Hershey Bears’ five game win streak and keep the Senators title hopes alive. The win, coupled with W/B-Scranton’s 3-2 SO thriller in Syracuse, keeps the two teams percentage points away in first place in the East Division, with an important showdown looming ahead Saturday night in Pennsylvania. Though it would come at price for the B-Sens as Nathan Lawson was injured yet again in the second period in a pair of collisions and appears his season might be finished. Magic number reduced to one as Sens could have clinched it tonight if they won in regulation.
Nicolas Deschamps takes a shot on Nathan Lawson in Binghamton’s 5-4 overtime thriller at the Arena. Photo courtesy of Alicia Strauch.
David Dziurzynski crushes Cameron Schilling behind the net as we are off and running in the first period. Shane Prince shot kicked out by Leggio with Matt Puempel bearing down on him shooting the rebound but Leggio gets his leg on it. Another odd man rush for Prince and Puempel this time Shane taking the pass and shoots high over the net with Leggio on his stomach as Prince can’t believe he missed an open net. Lawson kick save on Nate Schmidt as he has looks sharp and like himself of old so far in the period.
Chris Wideman breaks the non stop action scoring his ninth of the year off the skate of Chay Genoway as Leggio was scrambling around his cage. Garrett Thompson gets an assist on the play as he fed it cross ice to an open Wideman down deep. 1-0 lead after the first as Binghamton is playing desperate hockey with many guys out injured or called up and matched the Bears intensity.
Schmidt lights up the goal judge’s trigger finger getting Hershey their first goal early in the second when he grabs a Sens turnover in center ice and absolutely lets one rip by Lawson’s glove side tieing up the game. Then Lawson gets barreled into by Dane Byers as the net is knocked off its mountings as it appears his left leg got rattled pretty hard on the play and he is slow getting up. Prince lays a nice check on Ryan Stoa into the end boards knocking him down to the ice. Ben Blood with a nice swinging stick swat on the puck as Michael Latta prepares to take a shot in the slot.
Binghamton regains the lead as Mike Sdao‘s shot hits a Bear in front redirecting the puck in by Leggio. 45 seconds later Puempel comes from behind the net and makes an innocent shot a big one tapping in the free puck giving the Senators a 3-1 cushion. Bears call a timeout to cool things down and it works as Dyers answers getting a skate on David Kolomatis‘s shot from the point, however Lawson is laboring after getting hit again by Byers on a previous play knocking Lawson down to the ice.
Hershey ties up the contest once again by Latte scoring his 13th being left alone by Lawson’s side and into the empty net as Senators have a defensive breakdown in leaving him unchecked. Initial shot from ex-Sens Ryan Potulny was key as his shot was tossed in near the blue line. Lawson can barely stand at times as this is a 3-3 game heading into the third with the shots 33-23 favoring the Bears and I’ll be shocked if Nathan returns for the third.
Lawson decides to give it a go in the third but is still in pain as I don’t understand why Andrew Hammond is not in there. Hershey scores their third straight as Casey Wellman pokes in the puck through Nathan and gives the Bears their first lead of the evening 4-3 unsettling to the home fans. 28 seconds later Senators answer with a shot by D. Grant through traffic gets tipped in up high by Dziurzynski past Leggio and it’s 4-4 game.
Lawson is finally pulled in favor of Hammond and gets tested but makes some good saves coming in cold. Game is heading to overtime as Hershey is laid back some to get the point with the Sens doing the same. Hershey pressures early and often but Hammond and the defense do their job. At the 1:21 mark, D. Grant shoots a quick snap shot between Steve Oleksy‘s legs and in by Leggio for the game winner giving the home fans a win and a free McDonald’s biscuit. Shots have Hershey up with 44 to the Sens 31.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- B-Sens improved to 9-1 in overtime this season, their lone loss up in Ottawa at CTC to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Tough emotional win as this game had all the ingredients of playoff hockey but took a lot out of the club. That’s the way it is when you are in a playoff position and wanting a division title for home ice advantage along with bragging rights.
- I don’t think anyone on the team has more excitement then Puempel after scoring a goal. The kid is just full of energy and let’s his emotions all hang out feeding off the crowd. I love it.
- Lawson reminding me exactly of Barry Brust in 2011 the way he was hurting, slow to get up after every save and clearly in pain. The way he was walking around afterwards outside the locker room in street clothes, he may be done for the season. Rest him and see what happens come playoffs but looks to me to be a hamstring. Maybe that’s a good omen as Sens won a Cup in ’11.
- Wacey Hamilton had a good game and winning many key face-offs as that has been his forte. I like his intensity and brings much-needed experience to the club. Buddy Robinson was a little off in his game as perhaps season fatigue might be setting in for a few of the rookies on the team.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 D. Grant (1g 1a)
- #2 Dziurzynski (1g)
- #3 Kolomatis (2a)
Saturday Night @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins..
Cover photo/inserts courtesy of Alicia Strauch.